To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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Chinese New year

Its been "cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey" and if this year where that of the Monkey (instead of the Rat), it would have a falsetto voice ..

Forgive me for being a wingeing pom ... I know its worse in Hunan (and in the New Territories) but its so cold that there has actually been a run on space heaters and and damart thermal underwear in HK - not your normal Causeway Bay bling- bling. Normally in HK you go to the air conditioned shopping malls to get cool... now queues are forming to stand next to fans behind the freezers in Park&Shop to get warm !!

I spoke to my son in Dublin yesterday and told him how cold it was here. He reponsded that he had the flu. Do I care !!! I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that over last few days London has only been 3 deg C colder than here (as opposed to the normal 14 deg C). It has been the coldest Chinese New Year here in 12 years, and the coldest winter in over 50 years. One evening last week I even felt compelled to wear socks on my hands since I couldn't find my leather gloves (probably shipped back to europe).

On the positive side... the cold weather means that there have been fewer charity collectors to dodge on a Saturday morning (also fewer real estate and broadband/phone service hawkers - except those who have shares in Damart)!!

Charity collections in HK public places is subject to different regulations than normal blagging and highway robbery. Collections are normally allowed only on a Wednesday and Saturday morning between 9am and 1pm. Some shoppers have a strategy of making directly for the nearest collector the moment they step onto the street in order to buy their "flag" which they prominently display so as not to get harrasssed for the rest of the morning. Others wait until after 1 pm before venturing out and yet others attempt to navigate their way arround the maraurding packs of fund raisers waiting to pounce on victims like wolves stalling prey.

A favorite strategy is to gather near road crossings. HK has jay walking regulations and there are barriers on most main roads so pedestrians are drawn to crossing points in same way that that prey gathers at waterholes on the african savana. I was once chased acoss the road by an old lady who obviously felt she was behind her collection quota.

Other favoured ambush spots include

It's also suprising how many smiling parents standing in the background, but close enough to rescue their children, push them forward to shamelessly surround you. Phycologically you are are obliged to behave well and set a good example by giving to a good cause. In my case, being bearded,large and foriegn. I can if i wish look intimidating and give a subtle finger wag which which can dissuade all but the most innocent children. In such these cases I have refrained from asking either And for those of you who think that I am a miserable uncharitable git .. I have be known to give comparatively large sums to causes I deem worthy including covering fitting out of a village school room in India a couple of years ago.(but don't tell anyone !!) |
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